Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
patrick.olson86
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Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by patrick.olson86 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:10 pm

Hey All,

I'm kind of a rookie with Ableton, as my specialty is more recording and playing live guitar, but I've recently been getting into the program more and have found a desire to produce a Dub music project (like real Dub - Scratch Perry, not dubstep).

Bass, guitar, and keys are all pretty easy for me, I just play the live instrument and record my own loops. But, drums, are a different story. I know the basic reggae drum pattern (kick and snare/sidestick on the 3 - or the 2 and 4 depending on how you view it; and hihats on the off beat) So I can draw in those basic patterns and it sounds alright.. but, I'd like to be able to dance on the hihat (swing it, I guess) and draw in some killer fills.

My problem is that I suck at playing midi drums live, so drawing is what I usually do, and then apply a groove. So a few questions:

1 - since GOOD reggae fills are kind of random, drawing them in has been a challenge. Drawing them on a 16th note grid makes them sound INCREDIBLY robotic, which is anti-groovy. But, I know it's been done before to sound great - any old dub records show this. Does anyone have any advice for this?

2 - Anyone know any good stock grooves (Ableton Suite 8) to apply to reggae/dub?

3 - What do you all think of the stock drum kits in Suite 8? Do they sound weak or is that just me?

4 - Would it maybe just be worth buying the Prince Fatty pack from loopmasters and creating my own kits from their loops?

Thanks,
Pat

outershpongolia
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by outershpongolia » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:28 pm

1- theres loads of reggae songs that start off with fills, cut those samples out and use that.. put a little bit of reverb or delay on them and use warping to fit it into the groove of the track

docprosper
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by docprosper » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:28 pm

Pat,
Don't have the answers for you but this is a great first post, and I would like the answers too!

A good dub delay effect could help build your fills a little, I quite like DubStation:
http://www.audiodamage.com/effects/prod ... ?pid=AD006
You may be able to couple this with some hits that have random variation (in time, pitch, or probability of occurance) to get some dubby non-robotic evolving fills. Good luck!
-Hamish
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patrick.olson86
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by patrick.olson86 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:31 pm

That's a great delay! Thanks for the link. Combined with my Line 6 delay pedal I should be able to spin some heads. Thanks for the tip on the fills too! Eventually, I'm going to want to create my own, but sampling should work for the time being.

Keep the tips coming - in fact, if anyone has any tips on Dub or Reggae beats, please post. Ideas on layering drums would be nice too.. :D

JAMM
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by JAMM » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:55 pm

http://www.lowcoders.fr/kingdubby
throw it on the snaretrack

dinaiz
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by dinaiz » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:58 pm

patrick.olson86 wrote: 1 - since GOOD reggae fills are kind of random, drawing them in has been a challenge. Drawing them on a 16th note grid makes them sound INCREDIBLY robotic, which is anti-groovy. But, I know it's been done before to sound great - any old dub records show this. Does anyone have any advice for this?
Do you play enough with velocity ? Drums are by nature an instruments with lots of dynamics, and if you play all the notes with the same velocity, it will sound like a machine gun instead of a drummer :)

I'm not a drummer myself, but I know drummers use a lot of ghost notes, which, to make a long story short, are notes played very softly and off-beat , and are very important to the realistic feeling.

Groove is probably important too, but I've got the feeling that most reggae/dub prods are quite "square" drum's wise.
patrick.olson86 wrote: 3 - What do you all think of the stock drum kits in Suite 8? Do they sound weak or is that just me?
I was very disapointed by "suite" generally , and the "session drums" more specifically.
Most producers I know use Addictive drums. Never tried it though.
I use NI's battery 3 myself, which I find VERY good.

However, for dub, with most drums you will have to make them fatter anyway, for example using a compressor, some reverb, delay and so on .... Rick Snoman's "Dance music manual" has a lot of tips on using compressors and effects in general (I don't produce dance music at all, and still consider this book as the holly bible ;-) ) . Roey Izhaki's "Mixing Audio" too

You'll need a few "low fi" effects too, if you're into Lee Perry's sound. One of my favourites is Izotope Vinyl, which is free.

For dub, also, TAL DUB II is a must have, a free one too ! :)

My 2 cents :)

5id
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by 5id » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:10 pm

Xone:DB4, MBP, and a lovely set of one's n' two's

dinaiz
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by dinaiz » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:32 pm

Not found ... :-(

Guff Tong
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by Guff Tong » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:57 pm

Try this place for dub/reggae midi files...

http://midi.dubroom.org/

docprosper
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by docprosper » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:19 pm

dinaiz wrote:
Not found ... :-(
try http://studio.dubroom.org/tutorials-computerdub01.htm
...and hit the arrows fro the next chapters
Funk N. Furter wrote:Post properly.
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jesus god sandal
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by jesus god sandal » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:05 pm

brah
i like that dub too i can relate
i've been into that style

and i can suggest to you
to get them to sound less robotic on the 16ths try changing up the velocity on different hits (an example make every other hit have a low velocity (~40) and the others a high velocty (~100) )
and there are thousands of techniques,
find the one that fits you best.
another suggestion is to get some sample packs and go for the loops and fills they have and use their snare hits and stuff to get the more authentic feel
i feel like music is advancing in the UK or we're basing everything from there now and it's neat its like a little music revolution
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http://entheogensno.bandcamp.com - full length high quality downloads and listening

blakbeltjonez
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by blakbeltjonez » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:11 am

you're better off just taking some licks off of a decent sample CD.... i heard the Drum Drops Style Scott (Roots Radics) CD and it wasn't bad, certainly a lot better than a lot of purported "reggae" sample CD's i've heard. there's a "Horseman" one as well.... is it Horsemouth Wallace, or just some dude playing off his name? dunno, haven't heard it... but a good set of samples, tear apart a kit and especially all the hi hat nuances and reconstruct or refine an existing beat. easiest to do is the "one drop" beat, or the "flyers" style that was used extensively in Bunny Lee productions in the mid-70's

if it were me, i would reconstruct a classic tune or two completely so you can understand how it all fits together. drums, bass, one guitar doubling the bass for the most part, and a rhythm guitar. piano doubling a lot of the rhythm guitar, some organ maybe. but the two guitar format is a must - there are almost always two guitars in reggae. most of the songs are deceptively simple, but when you have a song that's complete, then you have something that you can work off for the dub. remember, the vast majority of dub tunes were singles to begin with. once you figure it out, you have a benchmark on how to get as close to that sound as you can. believe me, 80-90% of it is the playing/arrangement.

to get the hi hats right, just keep it simple and put a hi passed syncopated delay on them. not a quantized one, but dial it in by ear and that will give you the rolling hi hat sound you hear on a lot of records. the delay would typically be on the whole drum kit/bass, but since it was viciously hipassed you didn't hear much of anything else. the famous Tubby "big knob" Altec hi pass filter built into the console was very popular at one point (many producers wanting a dub mix would specifically ask for it), send it on to a delay and/or the Fisher spring reverb ... waggle the "big knob" switch and there you go.

if you want to do traditional dub, just buss everything down to 4 tracks mono - that was the dominant format with Black Ark, Tubby's, and even Channel One in their earlier days. bass and drums on one track, keys/guitar to another, anything else to the 3rd track, and horns/vocals to the last. much of the classic Studio One and Treasure Isle was just *two track* with overdubs- drums/bass on one, everything else on two and overdubbed vocals/etc. onto another two track.

Black Ark was a pretty low-tech affair (Soundcraft Series One 16 channel desk and Tascam 4 track) compared to Tubby's (early MCI custom built console and tape machines) or Channel One (API 1604 console and whatever they had for a 4 track deck, probably pretty decent like MCI).

so to get a vibe kind of like Black Ark, use a Space Echo plug, Mu-Tron Biphase plug or something that does that, and maybe a spring reverb. maybe a cheesy organ beat box. limit yourself in the technology department and make up for it elsewhere. make sure you have a dirt floor. buy or borrow a crying baby. put chicken wire around your mix area and bury a microphone outside under a tree.

it helps to be a whack job to get inside Lee Perry's head, i was never into a lot of what he did, but you have to hand it to the guy - he has done some great stuff in spite of being seemingly full-on batshit crazy at times.

another irreplaceable aspect of getting that kind of feel is getting good players to play together in the same room - there's just no getting around that. a lot of the bands and musicians that did sessions elsewhere - guys from Soul Syndicate, Now Generation, Revolutionaries, and other 70's A-listers that did sessions at the bigger, more formal studios - also played at Black Ark in a constantly rotating basis of temporary Upsetters, depending on whoever happened to wander by on any given day. for session guys, it was more relaxed scenario instead of the fast pace typical of places like Dynamic or Federal, and of "time is money" producers like Bunny Lee. the clock was not running at Black Ark - there were no windows to know what time it was outside (probably for the better since Perry's home & studio were right in the middle of then semi-war-zone Waterhouse area of western Kingston).

patrick.olson86
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by patrick.olson86 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:07 am

^ awesome tips. Love the idea of bouncing down to 4 tracks!

macmurphy
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by macmurphy » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:29 am

for lo-fi effects i like these - http://www.retrosampling.se/vst.htm

specifically audio impurities and audio impurities vintage edition which boost the noise floor and add tape noise,

vinyl dreams which does what it suggests :wink: and vintage tape delay.

ni's 60's drums is really nice for a vintage drum vibe, especially when used with nomad factory's magnetic on one of the slower tape speeds.

JuanSOLO
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Re: Reggae/Dub - MIDI Drum Techniques

Post by JuanSOLO » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:56 pm

Lots of time I will load in my favorite DUB track, loop a good section of drums or the intro fill, then zoom in real close on it and match up a midi drum clip to it. Many of the hits will not be perfectly quantized. Then I can use what ever samples for the midi clip. Keeps things a bit more organic.

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